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Pet-friendly re­tire­ment vil­lages and aged care fa­cil­i­ties were al­most un­heard of a decade ago, with many res­i­dents forced to sur­ren­der their fur ba­bies to loved ones or shel­ters.

To­day, the needs of Fluffy and Fido, even Tweety, are among the top pri­or­i­ties for de­vel­op­ers work­ing within the re­tire­ment living sec­tor.

Aveo, Living Gems, Stock­land, Palm Lake Re­sorts and In­ge­nia Life­style are among the de­vel­op­ers em­brac­ing pet­friendly re­tire­ment and aged care living, with feath­ered and four-legged friends wel­come at many of their fa­cil­i­ties.

Off-leash parks and dog walk­ing so­cial groups, on-call vets and groomers are just a few of the perks be­ing used by de­vel­op­ers to at­tract “pet-ten­tial” res­i­dents, who are of­ten at the fore­front of any de­ci­sions made by their hu­man own­ers.

And the benefits of pet own­er­ship are well-re­searched, with the An­i­mal Wel­fare League ad­vo­cat­ing for more pet-friendly aged care and re­tire­ment vil­lages in Aus­tralia.

Living Gems Toowoomba res­i­dent Robert Hickin, 85, re­cently brought home Lily, a minia­ture dachs­hund pup.

“When it came time for me to move from our acreage at With­cott, one of the rea­sons I chose Living Gems was be­cause it was pet-friendly,” he said.

“Since get­ting Lily, I am so much hap­pier. She gives me un­con­di­tional love and is my lit­tle mate.”

Mr Hickin said that be­sides Lily’s com­pany, his new buddy had also opened up his so­cial world.

He now of­ten walks his four-legged friend around the com­plex, get­ting to know many of the other res­i­dents.

Stock­land Sal­ford Wa­ters Re­tire­ment Es­tate res­i­dent Archie Phoenix said the Vic­to­ria Point com­mu­nity had proven to be a great home for him­self and his best mate Nel­lie, a white High­land Ter­rier.

“She seems to be quite pop­u­lar and Nel­lie is very cu­ri­ous and nosy,” Mr Phoenix said.

“When I take her for walks she knows all the best Jatz bis­cuit stops along the way and stops in to say hello to other res­i­dents.”

At In­ge­nia Life­style Betha­nia, pets are also part of the so­cial fab­ric.

“Our res­i­dents re­ally em­brace healthy living and they strive to main­tain their ac­tive life­styles. Res­i­dents have even started a dog walk­ing group for ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity to en­joy,” In­ge­nia Life­style project sales man­ager Karen Ross said.

“The daily walks around the com­mu­nity are just one of the many ways in which the res­i­dents and their ca­nine friends so­cialise and re­main con­nected.”

Ree­nie Butler founded the lo­cal dog walk­ing group, with more than 10 res­i­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing daily.

She said new res­i­dents were al­ways in­vited to join the group, which had proven to be a fan­tas­tic way to unite the com­mu­nity.

“We all walk at our own pace and then meet up at the per­gola near the river so our dogs can play – and of course get a few treats,” she said.

Living Gems sales and mar­ket­ing direc­tor Ben Liv­ing­stone said over-50s life­style re­sorts aimed to pro­vide a bet­ter qual­ity of living for res­i­dents.

“Own­ing a pet is a ma­jor men­tal health ben­e­fit, as do­ing so can help re­duce stress, in­crease so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and in­crease phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity,” he said.

“A healthy life­style is es­sen­tial for living a ful­fill­ing life­style.

“Pro­vid­ing the fa­cil­i­ties and op­por­tu­ni­ties that our res­i­dents need to live the healthy and ac­tive life­style they want is part of our core value propo­si­tion, and pets are a big part of that.”

In­ge­nia Life­style Betha­nia res­i­dents Penny Hinks and Lyn Schedueres­i­dents Penny Hinks and Lyn Schedue em­brace healthy and ac­tive life­styles with their pets by join­ing the dog walk­ing group. Living Gems Toowoomba res­i­dent Robert Hickin (be­low) with...

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